- Coronavirus has impacted Mexican drug cartel operations.
- It is much harder to traffic drugs into the US.
- Chinese factories that supply drug precursor chemicals have shut down.
Mexican drug trafficking organizations are hiring chemists to develop drugs that mimic popular narcotics. The syndicates are reportedly facing an acute shortage of precursor chemicals used in the processing of popular opiates, such as meth and fentanyl. The coronavirus outbreak, which has devastated industries across the world, has made it hard to obtain the chemicals, which are mostly sourced from China.
Fentanyl factories in Wuhan, the epicenter of the Covid-19 virus, have shut down due to the pandemic, making it extremely hard for drug cartels to get ahold of the substances. Wuhan has some of the world’s biggest fentanyl production facilities.
Drug Smuggling is Now Harder
The pandemic has impacted the drug trafficking world in numerous ways. Firstly, it has become harder to smuggle drugs into the United States through the border. This is because only essential persons are allowed to cross into the country.
The low number of persons and vehicles crossing into America has made it harder for drug traffickers to blend in. A high rate of movement usually provides the perfect cover. There is often a lower probability of the authorities searching a vehicle. Cartels also use a couple of decoy cars to throw off the cops.
Right now, more stringent checks are carried out because fewer persons are allowed to cross. Mexican cartels in the US and Mexico are consequently stockpiling cash and drugs because of the situation.
According to Robert Almonte, a former federal marshal:
“They would blend in or they would send a decoy vehicle ahead. And now, with the decrease in border traffic, they can’t blend in. Even the highway traffic from the US, there’s less than there was so when they’re driving a low vehicle down the highway, chances of them getting stopped by drug interdiction officer increases.”
According to the federal agent, some cartels are hiring certified chemists to develop narcotics that have the same effects as popular drugs, such as meth and fentanyl.
Mexican Government Seizes Drugs Stash
The Mexican government has been ramping up efforts to dismantle cartel operations in the country. Last month, approximately 8,000 gallons of liquid methamphetamine was seized by federal agents in Culiacan, Sinaloa.
This is after a judge issued a search warrant allowing them to search a building in the state. The region is a stronghold of the Sinaloa Cartel. Some of the precursor chemicals found at the site included over 1,000 gallons of benzyl chloride, and 300 gallons of benzaldehyde.
The authorities also stumbled upon equipment used to process drugs. The seizure is believed to have had a notable impact on supplies, especially now that there is a shortage of precursor chemicals.
In America, the authorities are reportedly making bigger cash seizures. This is because the transfer of drug proceeds back to Mexico has been curtailed by travel restrictions.